I knew taking a five day trip away from Middelburg days before the big move to Ireland was risky business. But anxiety about the next time I would be able to jet off to foreign places propelled me to do it anyways. As my aunt had mentioned during grad week: I’m afraid of being trapped.
Two days before I was set to meet Mieke in Brussels, I had a meltdown. Actually, it was the second meltdown in one week. I had been agitated, anxious, and upset over the state of my moving process. Furniture wasn’t sold according to my predetermined schedule, and furniture wasn’t bought or negotiated at fair prices. Decisions had to be made, and one problem turned into the next. It felt like I was drowning in a well of my own questions, and didn’t have the answers to pull myself back up.
To make matters worse, our trip to catch our flight out of Brussels didn’t go so smoothly either. I fell and tripped down the stairs minutes before my train left for the airport. With a twisted ankle, I miserably hobbled to meet the next train, and the next, causing me to arrive in Zaventum an hour later than when I said I would be. Mieke and I got caught up catching up, and nearly missed our flight altogether. She in platform heels and I with an extra limp to my gait, we gracelessly met our flight as the last passengers to board. What a fantastic way to start our vacation.
Once the stress and madness of catching flights and scrambling to the hostel before reception hours closed was over, we took a deep breath, and went looking for dinner…at thirty minutes to midnight, in a grungy Italian city we knew little to nothing about.
We stumbled into Caffe Borghese, ate some foccocia barese, and let it sink in that we were in the south of Italy, everything was okay, and now, we could relax. Bellissimo
Going into my last year at UCR, I didn’t want to make any new friends. By the end of my last year, the irony of my life had decided differently, and Mieke was one of the new friends I had accidentally made. She’s an optimistic spirit with a similar sense of humor, and I was excited to get to know her better.
We stayed in Bari the five nights, but ventured to other cities in Apulia and Basilicata. In between our daily decision making, we ate the best gelato in Bari, swam into the caves of Poligano a Mare, bought some artsy jewelry in Alberobello, and went on a historic tour of the underrated, but highly interesting, city of Matera. I started collecting material for the podcast, and even interviewed my first guest speaker! He said I would make a great journalist, and now I can’t wait to get that first episode up and on air.
Words can’t capture everything that happened, nor does the video I took of Mieke laughing hysterically from sleep deprivation in the airport justly depict the amount of fun we had. But hopefully this little slideshow will give you a better idea of the funny things we were up to.
Italy was a much needed reminder that there is more to life than furniture, and that if I can travel to far away lands, I can handle a short move across the North Sea to a country that speaks my native language, and a city I find absolutely charming.
Dublin, let’s go.